NEW ORLEANS, LA – Pin Oak Stable’s homebred Synchrony rallied five-wide into the stretch before inching away in front of the grandstand to take Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Muniz Memorial Handicap.
Breaking from the rail under Joe Bravo as the tepid 3/1 favorite, Synchrony settled to the inside near the front early while Zulu Alpha set splits of :23.67, :48.81, and 1:12.51. Put to task at the 5/16-pole, Synchrony’s rally enabled him to take command at the top of the stretch while outside of four other foes. The Mike Stidham trainee shook clear entering the final furlong before crossing by 1 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:49.59 for the 1 1/8-mile turf event.
“He’s on the path to being a really nice horse,” Bravo said. “Mike figured him out. The horse is happy and he’s enjoying himself.”
Arklow was able to finish ahead of a tiring Zulu Alpha, with the latter taking third over Mr. Misunderstood by a neck. Ring Weekend took fifth ahead of Lucullan, with Forge, One Mean Man, Revved Up, Galton, and Danish Dynaformer completed the order of finish.
Synchrony’s win was his second straight on the New Orleans lawn, following an off-the-bench triumph in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap in February. The 5-year-old intact son of Tapit improved his overall record to 12-5-3-2 with career earnings of $438,102.
“The thing that’s so incredible about this horse is he is so adaptable,” Stidham said. “He can sit back last and make a big run late, or if you need to use him like we did today and be a little closer, he can do that, too. That’s what is so cool about the horse.
“This was a pretty big step up in class. There were some really good horses in here. It was a deep, contentious field. We’re going to be looking at a lot of different spots. Throughout the spring and summer, there are so many opportunities for this kind of horse.”
Synchrony returned $8 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.60 to show. Arklow brought back $10.60 to place and $7.60 to show, while Zulu Alpha paid $25.20 to show.